Words of compassion – renewed hope

Jo-Ann Nadine Martin was tired of being victimised and exploited the day she met life coach Christine Morris.

“I was at the bank waiting on my pay but not feeling good about it. The hours were not correct.”


Martin was a ‘Jane of all trades’ who had worked in many sectors, including the fast-food industry and domestic service. None was meeting her needs. She was at wits’ end.

The mother of five children, she had left school at age 15, after becoming pregnant and her life fell into the pattern of low-paying jobs.

She had been sexually abused as a child and raped at 14, events which had damaged her self-esteem.

Although she worked hard to support her children, she did not really believe she deserved a better life. She could not even look at herself in the mirror. She was unhappy, but inside was the belief that she was getting what she deserved.

Martin said that she was also continually discriminated against and exploited because of her desperate financial status. In her last two domestic jobs, men in the households and one woman tried to have sexual relationships with her.

On that day in the bank, she was feeling really bitter and was actually talking to herself when she was approached by Morris.

Morris recalled, “Because of how she looked, I knew it was someone I could help. She was so unhappy.”
Because of how Morris herself looked, Martin was not very quick to listen to her. “She looked old-fashioned and spoke with an accent,” Martin said, adding, “I was kind of materialistic then.”

Morris was the life coach and London-trained neuro-linguistic therapist who was to change her life. That day in the bank, she suggested to Martin that a special brand of counselling would help her to see life in a different light and help her to achieve the goals she really wanted for herself and her children.

Martin recalled, “I had no money but she counselled me for free.”

According to Martin, that was five years ago. Today, she works along with the woman she calls her angel as a fellow life coach, going into local schools and speaking to young boys and girls about the life choices they make.

“I am a new person,” Martin stated. “Now, I can look at myself in the mirror. I was going to church and getting prayer, but I needed extra help. I could not tell anyone about my past abuse and other truths about myself for fear of being judged.”

Morris told Outlook, “Her (Martin’s) concerns on that day were mostly about money. She needed work which was regular, and help with her finances. I set up a six-week programme which took the form of one-hour weekly sessions. I also used neurolinguistic programming, which changes the mindset so that one can deal with any situation in positive way. Today, Martin is achieving, happy and confident.”

According to Martin, “At first, I was skeptical. I had been getting a lot of prayer at church and the support was good. What more could this woman do for me?” But Morris has helped Martin see things differently.

Martin commented, “I never knew I had it in me to be a motivational speaker. I have become very bold and outspoken and now I can approach anyone.”

Martin has changed churches, attending the Temple of Light where she says her new positive outlook is reinforced every day.

She is now also a better mother to her children, she believes. “I used to be overprotective, especially of the girls. Now they can see the difference in me.”

Martin wants all of her angels to know that they are remembered. They include, she says, Ms Potty – a neighbour in Barbican and mother figure for herself and her four daughters and one son; Jah Mikes, a Rastafarian friend from Standpipe in St Andrew, who is always full of encouragement; and Mr Rodriguez from Liguanea Pharmacy, who is always willing to listen.

Morris, Martin states, is the angel who had a “spiritual impact on me. Things had become bad emotionally. Without judgement, she allowed me to relax.

“She never judged me according to where I was coming from. She saw me as a person with potential. Now I can help to nurture the potential in others. I go into high schools and tell the girls and boys about sex and about being careful. My dream is to go out there to motivate children. That is my life. I love to talk to teenagers especially. I am using my experience to change lives.”

Martin has a special message for Jamaicans, especially those in her age group and others who are being exploited or abused and who feel that their lives cannot change.

“There is hope out there. Get to know your God-given potential and express it. There is an angel in everyone you see and in every one of us. A mother with five kids still has her potential. It is not gone. A man who you see struggling still has a dream and hope. He just wants someone to listen to him sometimes. There is creativity in everyone.”

Morris told Outlook, “To say that adults can’t change is not true. Nadine is proof. They change by getting the right support.”

Article by Avia Collinder, Gleaner Writer.

Photos by Rudolph Brown/Chief Photographer
Life coach and client have become friends. Jo-Ann Nadine Martin (left) and Christine Morris.

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admin Posted by: admin February 16, 2009 at 2:31 pm